Alayna Clark’s final high school tennis match at the Brandt/Quirk tennis courts ended prematurely in the second game of the opening set when rain shortened the remainder of a home triangular on Saturday.
But really, Clark played enough tennis in her first and only match of the day to fill up two matches.
The Watertown senior outlasted Jefferson’s Eryn Warner in a No. 2 singles match that lasted 2 1/2 hours to win 4-6, 6-4, 10-1. The Goslings defeated the Eagles 5-2.
It was a fitting way for Clark to wrap up her final home meet as part of three enjoyable and successful years with the program.
Clark entered high school as a talented cross country runner who earned second team all-conference honors in her freshman season. But she burned out of the fall sport she excelled in during her middle school years and decided to make a change to girls tennis, a sport she had never played competitively growing up.
“It was just something I had never tried before,” Clark said. “It was definitely different than cross country my freshman year. The group of girls is super awesome. It was like a family feel, which was really cool. (Head coach Andy Dobbins) is awesome. He’s just chill. He keeps you calm and makes everything really mellow and easy.”
Clark actually watched how-to videos when she decided to pick up a racquet prior to her sophomore season.
“Yeah, and I had to look up the rules and stuff,” Clark said. “I had no idea. It was brand new to me.”
She proved a quick study. After playing JV tennis her sophomore season, she earned a spot on varsity as a junior and played No. 3 singles for Watertown’s first ever conference championship team in girls tennis last year, when she posted a 20-7 record.
“That was super cool,” Clark said. “That was a really neat experience, just doing something that had never been done before was really cool and to be a part of that was awesome.”
She is currently 15-9 playing No. 2 singles this season. In two varsity seasons, Clark has compiled a 35-16 record.
Dobbins described Clark, who is also an all-conference striker for the girls soccer team, as one of the most athletic players in the conference coming into the season. He praised her court coverage and quickness, as well as her calm demeanor and tenacious ability to keep points alive as keys to her success.
“She has certainly been a great addition to our team and a big part of our success,” Dobbins said. “I will always remember her beating MG at the conference tournament last year, which was a huge part of us clinching the conference title.”
Clark has embraced the challenge of extending and ultimately winning points in situations like that.
“Mentally, you have to stay in it,” Clark said. “I like the mental toughness part of it. In that way, it’s like cross country, like staying in all the points. (What’s different) is you’re all alone out there.
“I am really happy with the opportunities it has given me and the friendships I have made. It’s been awesome.”
Also posting wins for Watertown were Mya Werning at No. 3 singles and the doubles teams of Sydney Linskens and Abby Marr, Cassidy Wesemann and Hannah Baneck and Jillian Hesse and Briaunna Konz.
“This was a good result for us against a solid Jefferson team,” Dobbins said. “We scheduled this match as a tune up before we start the postseason, and I’m glad we were able to get it in. We always seem to have a very competitive match with them and this was no exception.
“Our doubles took care of business and we picked up some really nice wins in singles.
“Alayna pulled out a very close match against a girl that has given her a lot of problems over the last two seasons. That was a great way for her to finish up the regular season and have some momentum going into this week. An awesome result for her.”
The Goslings compete at the Stoughton subsectional today.
No. 1 — Anna Kallsen (J) def. Aubrey Schmutzler (W) 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 — Alayna Clark (W) def. Eryn Warner (J) 4-6, 6-4, 10-1
No. 3 — Mya Werning (W) def. Gracie Niebler (J) 6-2, 7-6(2)
No. 4 — Laura Traver (J) def. Danielle Krakow (W) 6-3, 6-2
No. 1 — Sydney Linskens/Abby Marr (W) def. Mackenzie Pinnow/Railey Martin (J) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 — Hannah Baneck/Cassidy Wesemann (W) def. Eden Dempsey/Meghan Magner (J) 6-4, 7-5
No. 3 — Jillian Hesse/Briaunna Konz (W) def. Brittney Mengel/Emily Carlson (J) 6-2, 6-0